The Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon RS is the cream of the crop when it comes to Megas, but do all the bells and whistles make it cut the mustard?
The Nukeproof Mega is one of the most iconic and well known enduro bikes out there with multiple EWS race and series wins under the one and only Sam Hill. Ben slung a leg over the new V4 Mega to see how it stacked up.
Starting from the frame, there are big changes compared to the previous mega, including the ability to carry a water bottle… At last. The full carbon frame has clean lines and the way the shock and chain stay are in line with the top tube is particularly pleasing to the eye. The bottle blue paint job looked great, especially with the grey Zebs and their black stanchions.
Nukeproof have worked hard to improve the suspension kinematics compared to the previous bike, aiming to make the mid stroke more supportive with a little less ramp up at the end of the travel, making it easier to access full travel.
Sizing is pretty spot on for a modern bike and at 176cm, I could easily ride a medium or large bike. I went for the medium with its 460mm reach which is a little smaller than I usually ride, but proved to work well on slower, winter trails and tech singletrack. The sizing and geo chart is also very useable, giving you everything you need to make an informed choice.
Other geo highlights include decent length 440mm chain stays (down from 450mm previously), 460mm reach, a 64 degree head angle and 71 degree seat angle for the medium bike. The seat angle actually steepens across the size range so taller riders also benefit from an upright climbing position.
The top spec, RS model as tested here is built to be race ready straight from the box with a top drawer spec list. SRAM provide the bulk of the key components, with a full X01 groupset and their solid and reliable Code RSC brakes which I have always got on well with.
A new and more unusual component for me was the Mavic Deemax Pro Sam Hill wheelset. The Deemax Pro is an enduro wheel set from the original pioneers of tubeless rims, and the Sam Hill part basically refers to the “Day of the Dead” inspired decals. They feature a 28mm internal width and 24 over sized spokes. Given that these spokes are probably not readily available in your local bike shop it was good to see a few included in the box, should you run into any issues. Thankfully I didn’t, and even after a few rim strikes, the rims remained in tact and the wheels were both well tensioned. They offer a pretty direct and racy ride without being harsh.
Whilst a bike like this is all about the downs, it still needs to winch to the top and in this respect it was pleasantly surprising. The new leverage curve has you sitting a little higher in the travel as you climb and it offers natural support around the sag point, letting me mash my flat pedals as hard as I wanted with remarkably little bob, even for a long travel bike.
The Mega 275 has a fair amount of climbing traction, but does not feel super grippy up and over tech sections where it needs some finesse and the odd hop, skip and sprint. In tight turns you can really feel the slack front end as it wants to flop in at slow speeds, but this is a sacrifice I am willing to make for its downhill capabilities.
The climbing position was comfortable thanks to the steep seat tube angle, unlike the Nukeproof Horizon saddle which was really uncomfortable and had to be swapped out ASAP.
Having ridden a few Megas over the years and really loving the old Mega 290, I was stoked to ride this bike and see how it compares. Whilst is certainly shares the old Mega DNA, it really is a different beast all together and where the old bike was a straight line smasher with a more bottomless feel and increased stability from the 450mm chain stays, this felt like a lot more like a long travel trail bike. It is more agile and nimble, encouraging a more playful approach to your local trails. Both the Rock Shox Zeb Ultimate and the Super Deluxe Ultimate shock use their travel quite sparingly, holding you a bit higher in the travel than the old bike did.
The Mega 275 Carbon RS provides you with a good mix of traction and trail feedback, so if a plush, super smooth, magic carpet ride is what you prefer, then you may find it a little harsh. What it does well is tell the more accomplished rider exactly what is going on beneath the Michelin Wild Enduro tyres.
When you need it, the Mega still has a lot of travel available and it took some pretty big hits in its stride. The Zebs really do feel like a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card for when my ambition outweighs my talents and whilst I never found a Lyrik to be flexy or lacking, you can really feel the difference with a Zeb up front. I’m a big fan of these new burly forks and believe they are worth the weight penalty.
The size medium I tested felt well balanced and worked well on the more chilled trails that I was forced to ride during lock down. It changed direction in a flash and was all about good times and party laps. It really felt like a good trail bike, rather than an outright enduro race bike. As things opened up again I was able to ride at faster, gnarlier venues and I wished I had gone for the size large with its 480mm reach as it would give me more room for error and more stability. The low stand over heights mean that you should be able to choose your size depending on the trails you ride and your personal preferences.
When things got steeper, the Mega made a lot of sense. That 64 degree head angle giving you so much confidence to let it roll over some pretty intimidating features, knowing that you will still be in control. Techy chutes are a walk in the park on the new Mega and it felt remarkable composed whenever it got steep enough for my bum to start twitching.
When things get chunky the 27.5 inch wheels do hang up a little, so if pure race speed is your priority then you will probably be better off with the 29 inch version with the same spec. Having said that, the small wheels do compliment the poppy ride characteristics and make the Mega a whole load of fun on tech single track.
As usual, the clutch on the SRAM rear mech stopped working after about a dozen rides, allowing the mech to flap about and adding some noise to the otherwise quiet ride.
A bike that springs to mind is the excellent Santa Cruz Hightower that I tested in 2020. Despite having different amounts of travel and quite different geometry, both have quite a direct, supportive and playful character that rewards an active rider and smart line choice.
What do we think?
The latest Mega was not what I was expecting, feeling more like a long travel trail bike than a pure bred enduro race machine. This is no bad thing though as the Mega is a tonne of fun and is very useable across a wide variety of trails.
Could Do Better:
Lacking the bottomless travel feel of some of its competitors
You can check out the Nukeproof Mega range on their website here.